Geoff Cox’s guide to new DVD releases (28.09.11)
Russell Brand steps into the late Dudley Moore’s shoes in ARTHUR (12: Warner), a relatively faithful remake of the 1981 comedy hit.
But while Brand brings plenty of his charisma to the role, the well-remembered first film looms large over proceedings.
Brand plays a billionaire playboy drunk who’s under pressure to marry a manipulative executive (Jennifer Garner), thereby creating a merger between two powerful business families.
A spanner is thrown in the works when Arthur falls for a free-spirited New York tour guide (Greta Gerwig) and he incurs the wrath of his and his fiancee’s parents and risks losing his inheritance.
Gerwig doesn’t have a single gag to deliver and is a poor substitute for the feisty Liza Minnelli.
Helen Mirren, as Arthur’s long-suffering nanny, is no match for John Gielgud’s pithy butler.
Although a sprightly comic pace is maintained by director Jason Winer, the feeling persists that we’ve seen it all before – and with a great deal more charm.
> Alpine-set British romcom CHALET GIRL (12: Momentum) won’t melt your heart, but at least it might leave a warm glow.
You may recall Felicity Jones’ eye-catching turns in Cemetery Junction and TV’s Northanger Abbey, and here she makes a winning heroine as Kim, for whom the class barrier appears to block the path of true love.
But it’s more of a slippery slope as the working-class Cinderella tends to a well-to-do family at a jet-set resort while learning to snowboard.
Kim’s aim is to bag a cash prize in a forthcoming competition and save her widowed dad (Bill Bailey) from total despair.
It’s a formulaic yarn, with the central romance suffering because the object of Kim’s affection – rich boy Jonny (played by Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick) – seems more in love with himself than anyone else.
The compelling journey for the viewer is the personal one that Kim takes as she battles fear and insecurity to realise a sporting ambition.
Her friendship with Tamsin Egerton (posh totty Chelsea in the St Trinians films) is also fun to watch as Egerton can be simultaneously snotty, hilarious and endearing.
> Gripping and harrowing, THE BANG BANG CLUB (15: Entertainment One) is based on the true story of four remarkable photographers taking iconic and shocking pictures in South Africa during the last days of apartheid.
Set in 1994, the quartet – Greg Marinovich (Ryan Phillippe), Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch), Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach) and Joao Silva (Neels Van Jaarsveld) – set out to capture some of the best, yet most horrific, images of their careers.
Greg is a freelance cameraman who follows his instincts to focus on the rebels’ point of view.
While in Soweto he meets the other three, who are employed by national newspaper The Star.
Working closely together, they become known as The Bang Bang Club and photograph the chaos and intense fighting in the streets between rival factions.
Greg wins a Pulitzer Prize for an image of a Zulu man on fire, but only to be used as propaganda by the Government.
With tension and violence increasing, the four men have to decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in pursuit of the perfect shot.
> Released in plenty of time for Hallowe’en, spooky adventure SCARED SHREKLESS (U: Dreamworks), available to buy exclusively at Tesco from October 3, sees the gang gathering to celebrate the ogre’s favourite holiday.
But instead of the usual tricks or treats, Shrek ups the ante and challenges everyone to spend the night telling scary stories. The last one to be scared Shrekless wins.
The DVD includes classic horror movie spoofs and features the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.
> Also look out for STREET KINGS 2 (15: Twentieth Century Fox), starring Ray Liotta in a gritty tale of corruption, murder and double-crossing in Detroit. You can also buy it as a double pack with the 2008 original.